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All-encompassing iPhone patent filing hints at GPS, video chat

post #1 of 36
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Apple has filed for a patent that addresses virtually every aspect of the iPhone, including potential additions such as GPS mapping, media messaging, video calls, and voice commands.

While Apple has filed for patents covering individual aspects of the iPhone experience, including text messaging, a new patent application published late last week promises to roll all these and more into a single, comprehensive document -- one which credits Apple chief Steve Jobs as first in the list of inventors.

In addition to describing much of what the iPhone is capable of today, the patent for a "Touch Screen Device" would also safeguard Apple's ability to implement several features that have yet to appear in any hardware or in a software revision for the cellphone. On a software level, the company describes simple additions such as instant messaging and a version of Safari capable of playing in-line content such as Quicktime movies or Flash without having to temporarily leave the browser environment.

Adobe has said it's willing to offer Flash for the iPhone, but says it would need access beyond that of the official SDK, which bars plug-ins.

Further welcome additions described in the publication would include a dedicated blogging client, Java software downloads, MMS picture and video messaging, and support for voice-activated commands as well as audio capture. Many of these features are already built into competing smartphones, such as Research in Motion's BlackBerry line, or are available as downloads for these devices.

Some features described in the 371 pages of the application, however, would demand hardware additions that are widely suspected for future iPhone updates. Most pages of the patent place an "optical sensor" at the top-center of the device which, in some versions of the device outlined by Apple, would allow for videoconferencing with one or more participants. Several reports have floated the possibility of a front-facing camera appearing in an iPhone refresh believed to be unveiled this month.



The company also alludes to more uses of multi-touch in apps that would account for acceleration and velocity, including through a "physical click wheel" as well as a touchscreen.

Additional text in the potential patent also refers to a GPS module that would be used both for mapping and to add positional data to other applications. A weather or yellow page widget could base its information on the user's location, Apple says. Notably, the company has already added geo-tagging support to a recent beta of its iPhone 2.0 firmware that would potentially use a GPS receiver to locate where a photo was taken, suggesting that this feature is closest among those described in the patent to becoming a reality. The change further brought positioning requests to Google Maps and a toggle for "Location Services" to the iPhone's settings menu.

The California-based electronics maker isn't under any obligations to use technology described in the patent, which was originally submitted on September 5th, the same day as Apple announced the iPod touch and the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. Its publication came just over a week before the company's Worldwide Developer Conference, when Steve Jobs plans to showcase the iPhone during his keynote speech at the event.
post #2 of 36
Fresh! Whatever enables Apple to lock down the patents on this kind of configuration first.

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post #3 of 36
Isn't this old news?
post #4 of 36
He'd patent a coffee mug if he could. Prolly already has.
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post #5 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

He'd patent a coffee mug if he could. Prolly already has.

But it's a coffee mug, a beverage holder, and a hand warmer... are you getting this?

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post #6 of 36
And when you drop it... *BOOM*!
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post #7 of 36
all of these are great for the iphone,

but i dont want my phone to be able to do all those features, becuase simply it would run oout of battery really fast, so apple better coupe with tht, and give like 10 battery will brightness full, atching movei and haveing gps all at once
post #8 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

He'd patent a coffee mug if he could. Prolly already has.

Wouldnt that be funny The iMug.
post #9 of 36
This doesn't say much about what Apple will be releasing next week (if anything). It does say something about the sad state of affairs in the US with regards to patents that they feel the need to make this sort of application. I assume its to help them with opportunistic patent suits.
post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by merdhead View Post

This doesn't say much about what Apple will be releasing next week (if anything). It does say something about the sad state of affairs in the US with regards to patents that they feel the need to make this sort of application. I assume its to help them with opportunistic patent suits.

It's what is necessary to get limited protection for the market you are attempting to exploit. Otherwise, what's to keep every company from simply reverse-engineering your products and selling them like China d.... oh, wait a second...

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post #11 of 36
And what does this do to similar applications that other developers are surely already working on since the SDK was released. Not all of the apps mentioned in the article would require access that only Apple has to the internal workings of the iPhone. Perhaps the patent is more to protect themselves from those patent hoarding (er, holding) firms that sit on some obscure patent until they can find someone to sue.
post #12 of 36
Microsoft will still copy half of it. LOL

Great to see patents for everything, I think this is the patent that Steve Jobs talked about when he announced iPhone in 2007. He said "we have more than 200 patents," at first I wondered why 200. What can be patented so heavily. As soon as I had my iPhone I knew what what patented.
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post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLoneGod View Post

Wouldnt that be funny The iMug.

That's you and me, mate. And a few more million others. We're the iMugs.\
post #14 of 36
The optical sensor isn't a camera, it's the ambient light sensor for the screen brightness.
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by number9 View Post

The optical sensor isn't a camera, it's the ambient light sensor for the screen brightness.

I hadn't thought of that, but you're probably right. I'd still love to see video conferencing, though. Kind of shows how far we've come technologically. I know it's already around, but I mean on something good that a lot of people will use and hopefully be able to afford.
post #16 of 36
as above i hope this was for the v1 because i don't want to wait any longer for an iphone with voice commands (voice dialing) gps would be cherry on top of 3 g

has anyone seen anything from FCC?
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post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post

has anyone seen anything from FCC?

Maybe Al Gore has some contacts that are keeping it under wraps.

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post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by number9 View Post

The optical sensor isn't a camera, it's the ambient light sensor for the screen brightness.

You may be right but if you look at the diagram on the left at number 139 you will see what is described as the "video conferencing module".
post #19 of 36
The patent application is pretty extensive with all of the usual features of cell phone communications device mentioned: video camera, SMS, MMS, instant messaging, video conferencing; Widget creator for user-created widgets (like Dashboard widgets I believe) and 3rd party Widgets; Firewire capability through the iPod docking port; 3rd party apps like JAVA apps, word processing, voice recognition/replication, encryption, DRM; and a host of UI things like a virtual click wheel and touch sensitive surfaces outside of the screen.

One wonders if all of it is coming or not...
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post

has anyone seen anything from FCC?

Nope. It will be on AppleInsider and every other tech site once it hits, but I suspect we'll here Jobs announce it next Monday and the FCC will release it that Monday or Tuesday.
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post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

Isn't this old news?

Only if you've read it before. Have you?
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdhockeyfan424 View Post

all of these are great for the iphone,

but i dont want my phone to be able to do all those features, becuase simply it would run oout of battery really fast, so apple better coupe with tht, and give like 10 battery will brightness full, atching movei and haveing gps all at once

None of the software features would affect that much. And better batteries come over time. I wouldn't worry about it.
post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by merdhead View Post

This doesn't say much about what Apple will be releasing next week (if anything). It does say something about the sad state of affairs in the US with regards to patents that they feel the need to make this sort of application. I assume its to help them with opportunistic patent suits.

It's not just the US. It's everywhere. Apple and MS didn't patent as much as they are these days. They feel the need. I hope Apple patents every little thing they can.

I know if I come up with something, I don't want someone else stealing it. Let them invent their way of dong it.
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

And what does this do to similar applications that other developers are surely already working on since the SDK was released. Not all of the apps mentioned in the article would require access that only Apple has to the internal workings of the iPhone. Perhaps the patent is more to protect themselves from those patent hoarding (er, holding) firms that sit on some obscure patent until they can find someone to sue.

It doesn't affect them. They're allowed to interface with Apple's goods. If Apple has an SDK, it tells developers that within the limits of the SDK, they can do what they want.

But Apple doesn't want other companies coming out with a copy of the iPhone/iTouch.

If Apple's lawyers were a bit more observant, Apple would have won their lawsuit against MS in the early '90's, because their deals with MS would have been better structured, so that MS couldn't have taken Apple's patents, and used them for their own OS.

If that had been true, then think of the difference there would have been in the computing world, and Apple's fortunes vs. MS's fortunes.

That's why patents, and proper licensing, are important.
post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Maybe Al Gore has some contacts that are keeping it under wraps.

It's surprising though, isn't it?

I hope it doesn't mean that the phone won't be available until October, because it hasn't been submitted yet.
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdhockeyfan424 View Post

all of these are great for the iphone,

but i dont want my phone to be able to do all those features, becuase simply it would run oout of battery really fast, so apple better coupe with tht, and give like 10 battery will brightness full, atching movei and haveing gps all at once

Most of the features listed are software related. As for the others, the GPS chip only needs to be turned on for a very short time when you actually need it, and I doubt that video conferencing will replace most normal voice calling. I foresee that being done only in certain special circumstances, like the occasional chat with distant friends and family. Besides, these things are optional anyway; you can certainly keep them turned off and just stick to the basics. It looks like you'll even be able to turn of UMTS/3G and stay on GSM/EDGE if you want longer talk time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by merdhead View Post

This doesn't say much about what Apple will be releasing next week (if anything). It does say something about the sad state of affairs in the US with regards to patents that they feel the need to make this sort of application. I assume its to help them with opportunistic patent suits.

Indeed, it's rather ridiculous. It's still a mess today even *after* the supreme court's ruling that was supposed to reinforce the "obviousness" clause. We need a complete overhaul of the system, where experts in a given field actually analyze related patents instead of the widespread rubber stamping.
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

Indeed, it's rather ridiculous. It's still a mess today even *after* the supreme court's ruling that was supposed to reinforce the "obviousness" clause. We need a complete overhaul of the system, where experts in a given field actually analyze related patents instead of the widespread rubber stamping.

This isn't some easy thing to work out. Indeed, it's very complex, which is why there are problems.

As to rubber stamping. That doesn't usually happen.

The problem is that there are so many patents that still have the force of law (that haven't run out), and so many older ones, as well as so much work being done in the various fields, that's it's become almost impossible to keep up.

The examiners do what they can, but are terribly understaffed. They can get paid quite a bit more in industry, so why should they stay unless they are dedicated?

Who will want to pay the extra $1 billion a year it's been estimated the office needs?

And these problems are everywhere, it's not just in the US.
post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

But it's a coffee mug, a beverage holder, and a hand warmer... are you getting this?

LOL
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLoneGod View Post

Wouldnt that be funny The iMug.

Yeah, my wallet is soon going to be saying, "i getting Mugged."
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

Most of the features listed are software related. As for the others, the GPS chip only needs to be turned on for a very short time when you actually need it, and I doubt that video conferencing will replace most normal voice calling. I foresee that being done only in certain special circumstances, like the occasional chat with distant friends and family. Besides, these things are optional anyway; you can certainly keep them turned off and just stick to the basics. It looks like you'll even be able to turn of UMTS/3G and stay on GSM/EDGE if you want longer talk time.



Indeed, it's rather ridiculous. It's still a mess today even *after* the supreme court's ruling that was supposed to reinforce the "obviousness" clause. We need a complete overhaul of the system, where experts in a given field actually analyze related patents instead of the widespread rubber stamping.

you forget that GPS needs at least 30 seconds to get a fix on the satellites, most of the time it takes much longer, up to 120 seconds...

i think the WPS feature will be first choice, if no WPS info (skyhook wireless supplies that data to apple/google maps) is available, only then the GPS module would be queried for geolocation, so to say as a fallback mode when the iphone is not in a metropolitan location or if skyhook hasn't scanned the area...

right now most of the US and EU metro areas have been scanned. in a second phase the smaller "bigger" cities in europe and the US get scanned... and hopefullt china and japan... right now only tokyo and seoul is really thoroughly scanned in asia. australia is on it's way, but since it so huge and so little people actually live there it's a very costly undertaking since the /$ per square kilometer ratio is very high...
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post #31 of 36
This is not a iPhone patent. It is a multi-touch patent. It is pretty obvious when you read the claims.

It does not protect any software or hardware Apple adds to iPhone, which is reasonable. All the software and hardware have appeared in other devices (Pocket PC, Tablet XP, cell phones, or even Newton) before.
post #32 of 36
It seems to me that some here are not really that familiar with what other smart-phones can do right now (not that I'm any great expert, myself).
All these features have (mostly) been available for a while from other makers - they are not new.
For example I'm using a Blackberry 8110 that has a GPS chip and a voice recognition chip that doesn't need samples of your voice to work.
And this is an OLD phone, already replaced with 3G models.
Video calls are available on a lot of phones, but the US doesn't support it's use ( I understand that Europe does).

The battery use isn't that much of a problem for phones with a removable battery if you are a heavy user. One of my chargers - similar to the iPhone's stand - has a holder for a second battery to recharge while I'm at my desk.

What all these phones DON"T have is a simple and fun way to USE all these bells and whistles, and this is where Apple can really shine!
Who wants to take an engineering course just to program a phone?

This has me really excited, and hopeful that Apple will bring the iPhone hardware up to par with the rest of the world.
And I'm ready to back it up with my money ... IF Steve delivers.
I'm betting he will.
post #33 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdhockeyfan424 View Post

all of these are great for the iphone,

but i dont want my phone to be able to do all those features, becuase simply it would run oout of battery really fast, so apple better coupe with tht, and give like 10 battery will brightness full, atching movei and haveing gps all at once

One major issue Apple wanted to address at launch was that the iPhone would just simply work whenever you were making or receiving a phone call. For that to happen, battery life was paramount. And because of the concerns surrounding 3G and its effect on battery life, for example, it was not made available in the first iteration.

Jobs and Apple have reiterated it a number of times that iPhone applications will not be allowed if they compromise its primary function, i.e., to make phone calls.
post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by arklab View Post

It seems to me that some here are not really that familiar with what other smart-phones can do right now (not that I'm any great expert, myself).
All these features have (mostly) been available for a while from other makers - they are not new.
For example I'm using a Blackberry 8110 that has a GPS chip and a voice recognition chip that doesn't need samples of your voice to work.
And this is an OLD phone, already replaced with 3G models.
Video calls are available on a lot of phones, but the US doesn't support it's use ( I understand that Europe does).

The battery use isn't that much of a problem for phones with a removable battery if you are a heavy user. One of my chargers - similar to the iPhone's stand - has a holder for a second battery to recharge while I'm at my desk.

What all these phones DON"T have is a simple and fun way to USE all these bells and whistles, and this is where Apple can really shine!
Who wants to take an engineering course just to program a phone?

This has me really excited, and hopeful that Apple will bring the iPhone hardware up to par with the rest of the world.
And I'm ready to back it up with my money ... IF Steve delivers.
I'm betting he will.

other 3g phones might have video-conf capability via UMTS/3g, but the iphone will have video-conf via ichat/aim/jabber/gtalk, ergo the internet... no cost to it! if you use video on a regular 3g it's treated like a regular call, a little more expensive...

just like email on the iphone, which is at no additional cost to the consumer, video calls via messenger networks will get picked up very fast....

SMS/MMS/3g video calls all cost additional money... i don't use them!!!

i used to SMS quite a lot back in the days when it was free! no i just email... text or pictures from my iphone... great addition!!!
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post #35 of 36
Note: The referenced document is merely a published patent application. It is not a patent.

About 90% of all patent applications are published at 18 months after the filing date. This particular patent application references 5 provisional patent applications. Provisional patent application filings are used to establish a date at the USPTO. In addition this published patent application references 10 other related utility patent applications and 1 related design patent application. Each of the related applications is "incorporated by reference", meaning, they are in effect part of this disclosure and have filing dates as old as Jul. 1, 2002 and as new as Jun 28, 2007. See indented text below for the application numbers and titles.

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001]This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Nos. 60/937,991, "Touch Screen Device, Method, and Graphical User Interface for Determining Commands by Applying Heuristics," filed Jun. 29, 2007; 60/937,993, "Portable Multifunction Device," filed Jun. 29, 2007; 60/879,469, "Portable Multifunction Device," filed Jan. 8, 2007; 60/879,253, "Portable Multifunction Device," filed Jan. 7, 2007; and 60/824,769, "Portable Multifunction Device," filed Sep. 6, 2006. All of these applications are incorporated by referenced herein in their entirety.

[0002]This application is related to the following applications: (1) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/188,182, "Touch Pad For Handheld Device," filed Jul. 1, 2002; (2) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/722,948, "Touch Pad For Handheld Device," filed Nov. 25, 2003; (3) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/643,256, "Movable Touch Pad With Added Functionality," filed Aug. 18, 2003; (4) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/654,108, "Ambidextrous Mouse," filed Sep. 2, 2003; (5) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/840,862, "Multipoint Touchscreen," filed May 6, 2004; (6) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/903,964, "Gestures For Touch Sensitive Input Devices," filed Jul. 30, 2004; (7) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/038,590, "Mode-Based Graphical User Interfaces For Touch Sensitive Input Devices" filed Jan. 18, 2005; (8) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/057,050, "Display Actuator," filed Feb. 11, 2005; (9) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/658,777, "Multi-Functional Hand-Held Device," filed Mar. 4, 2005; (10) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/367,749, "Multi-Functional Hand-Held Device," filed Mar. 3, 2006; and (11) U.S. patent application Ser No. 29/281,695, "Icons, Graphical User Interfaces, and Animated Graphical User Interfaces For a Display Screen or Portion Thereof," filed Jun. 28, 2007. All of these applications are incorporated by reference herein.

I am guessing iPhone Video Capability, 2.5/3 G and revamped .Mac with iPhone+.Mac integration. I am also hoping for Flash and a port for supplying a video signal to a projector so I can project a presentation.

And, wouldn't it be cool if the device itself could project an image onto a surface for collaboration? I realize this requires power but for collaborating with 2-3 people it might work with an LED as the light source.

KAPUSTA

kapusta
post #36 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by kapusta View Post

Note: The referenced document is merely a published patent application. It is not a patent.

About 90% of all patent applications are published at 18 months after the filing date. This particular patent application references 5 provisional patent applications. Provisional patent application filings are used to establish a date at the USPTO. In addition this published patent application references 10 other related utility patent applications and 1 related design patent application. Each of the related applications is "incorporated by reference", meaning, they are in effect part of this disclosure and have filing dates as old as Jul. 1, 2002 and as new as Jun 28, 2007. See indented text below for the application numbers and titles.

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001]This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Nos. 60/937,991, "Touch Screen Device, Method, and Graphical User Interface for Determining Commands by Applying Heuristics," filed Jun. 29, 2007; 60/937,993, "Portable Multifunction Device," filed Jun. 29, 2007; 60/879,469, "Portable Multifunction Device," filed Jan. 8, 2007; 60/879,253, "Portable Multifunction Device," filed Jan. 7, 2007; and 60/824,769, "Portable Multifunction Device," filed Sep. 6, 2006. All of these applications are incorporated by referenced herein in their entirety.

[0002]This application is related to the following applications: (1) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/188,182, "Touch Pad For Handheld Device," filed Jul. 1, 2002; (2) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/722,948, "Touch Pad For Handheld Device," filed Nov. 25, 2003; (3) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/643,256, "Movable Touch Pad With Added Functionality," filed Aug. 18, 2003; (4) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/654,108, "Ambidextrous Mouse," filed Sep. 2, 2003; (5) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/840,862, "Multipoint Touchscreen," filed May 6, 2004; (6) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/903,964, "Gestures For Touch Sensitive Input Devices," filed Jul. 30, 2004; (7) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/038,590, "Mode-Based Graphical User Interfaces For Touch Sensitive Input Devices" filed Jan. 18, 2005; (8) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/057,050, "Display Actuator," filed Feb. 11, 2005; (9) U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/658,777, "Multi-Functional Hand-Held Device," filed Mar. 4, 2005; (10) U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/367,749, "Multi-Functional Hand-Held Device," filed Mar. 3, 2006; and (11) U.S. patent application Ser No. 29/281,695, "Icons, Graphical User Interfaces, and Animated Graphical User Interfaces For a Display Screen or Portion Thereof," filed Jun. 28, 2007. All of these applications are incorporated by reference herein.

I am guessing iPhone Video Capability, 2.5/3 G and revamped .Mac with iPhone+.Mac integration. I am also hoping for Flash and a port for supplying a video signal to a projector so I can project a presentation.

And, wouldn't it be cool if the device itself could project an image onto a surface for collaboration? I realize this requires power but for collaborating with 2-3 people it might work with an LED as the light source.

KAPUSTA

kapusta

This shows one of the reasons why patent examiners have so many problems looking up prior art. If Apple references their own patents, which they know about, imagine trying to find all of the older references for a different companies patent application.
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